Part 2: Now moving from the negative to the positive
4th “older women” are to be known for “teaching what is good.”
- Comes from one Greek word meaning “teachers of good.” The Greek word refers to teaching that which is noble and excellent. Having taught their own children well, older women are given the responsibility for teaching younger women in the church.
- The thought here is not teaching formal classes, holding seminars, writing books, retreats, recording CD’s, though there is a place for those. No, the main idea presented here is the idea of older women living lives that display a model of goodness.
It’s something she is, it’s not something she simply does.
[Tweet "“The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, the great teacher inspires.” (Wm Arthur Ward, pastor and teacher)"]
When older women become empty nesters, they are not to live their lives as if they had no responsibility.
- Parenting doesn’t stop when the kids are out of the house, whether they be single or married. (issues usually get bigger) The same is true for within the church.
- Older women are responsible to become teachers of the next generation. They accomplish this by coming alongside and modeling, discipling, mentoring and by setting the example of living a godly Christian life as a single woman, a married woman without kids, or a married woman raising a family and making a home.
- Years of Bible study and practical experience enable older women to pass on valuable counsel to young women. Without this training, each new generation is doomed to learn the hard way, repeating the mistakes of the past. While the responsibility for teaching is put on the older women, any wise young person will cultivate the friendship of godly older women and solicit their advice and correction.
- So we learn from verse 3 the responsibility of older women. We learn about her character.
Verse 4 begins with “that” which lets us know it’s a purpose clause. (1st of 4 in passage)
- The purpose of older women modeling their lives as virtuous, godly women is so “that they may encourage the young women.” The word encourage as it is uniquely used here means to train. The best way to understand the way this word is being used here is the idea of training in self-control. In other words, older women are to teach young women that self-restraint, that self-discipline that trains them to be able to carry out their responsibility which is to “love their husbands, love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands that the word of God may not be dishonored.”
- This is the tremendous challenge commanded of older women. (husbands should be in prayer for them) They are to be involved in a training process to raise a generation of sensible, disciplined, prudent, wise, discreet, restrained women who are committed to doing God’s will. The training process involves developing relationships; it involves the responsibility to confront and affirm.
Now who are the young women? What age group are we talking about?
- In a general sense, it’s talking about women who are able to bear children or are still rearing children.
- John MacArthur- “We’re generally talking about a premenopausal group of young women, those who are still able to give birth.” (Child bearing /child rearing up to age 60)
Older 60+ group, younger -60, still bearing children, capable of bearing children, or still rearing children)
- The Roman Empire used 60 as the official age for someone who could be officially called old. This is not carved in stone. You’re not necessarily young at 59 and instantly old at 60. Before 60, a woman can reach out to teach and encourage women younger than herself, but her #1 priority is her husband, her children, and her home.
- It doesn’t mean women past child rearing who are teaching younger women still don’t hold their husband, their children, grandchildren, and their home as their #1 priority.
Phyllis Sather said, “It’s a stage, not an age.” Common sense + wisdom + age + spiritual = maturity… What if the oldest woman in your church is age 49?
Continuing on in verse 4, older women are to encourage
- (to train in the matter of self-restraint) young women to love their husbands, love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands”
- 1st they’re to train them to “love their husbands”
- Paul is not talking about romantic or sexual love, which most certainly have a proper place in marriage. It’s not a feeling but rather a committed action. He’s talking about committed love that godly wives choose to have for their husbands, just as godly husbands choose to have for their wives. (Eph. 5: 25, 28)
- “Philandros” translated from the Greek refers to willing determined love that is not based on a husband’s worthiness, but on God’s command and that is extended by a wife’s affectionate and obedient heart.
- A young woman is to be taught to be a one man woman. This kind of love of wives and husbands for each other involves unqualified devotedness and is a friendship that is strong and deep.
Husbands, you want your wives to be devoted to you?
- Do you love your wife like Christ loves the church?
- And how much does Christ love the church?
- He loves us thought we’re not worthy of His love.
- The Lord loves us sacrificially.
- He loves the church even though it’s made up of sinners.
- He protectingly loves us.
That’s how we husbands are to love our wives, and that’s how wives are to love their husbands. Most wives will reflect/respond to that kind of love. Huh! That’s easy for you to say.
You don’t know my husband!
- I don’t care about him anymore! I don’t love him anymore!
- In fact, he really turns me off!
- Remember, it’s not a feeling but a committed action.
- One commentator said, “It’s not simply that love of a husband is a virtue, but that not loving is a sin.”
- If you don’t love your husband anymore, that’s disobedience to God’s Word. He is clear about that – “Wives, love your husbands.” Now that doesn’t mean your necessarily going to hear and see fireworks every time he’s in your presence.
- According to research written about in Newsweek, in about 2 years the rockets, the bells, the whistles, that all goes. It is much more likely that spontaneous fireworks, bells and whistles romances prove to be the ones that are artificial and short lived. If you don’t love your husband, then you need to train yourself to love him, and you do this by serving him, and that can only be done through a heart of reverence for the Lord. Contrary to what most people think, love that is carefully built and nurtured is not artificial, it’s a love that will grow.
- If you are struggling with love for your husband, prayerfully examine your heart against the Word of God to see how you should respond towards him. Training yourself to love involves doing things for your husband whether or not you feel like doing them. Of course, the principle is reciprocal and applies equally to husbands.
A young woman can be taught the countless ways in which she can demonstrate
she loves and respects her husband by:
- - acknowledging his headship in the home
- - keeping an orderly home
- - making no important decisions without his input
- - looking after your personal appearance
- - confessing promptly
- - forgiving graciously
- - living within the family’s means
- - keeping open the lines of communication
- - keeping from being critical of or contradicting him in front of others
Paul wrote the saints at Philippi, “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil. 2: 2-4)
What can anyone add to that?
That admonition to all believers doesn’t exclude husbands and wives. No, it applies in a very special way to them, which is why the foundation of a sound relationship between husbands & wives is their relationship with the Lord. When you sacrificially serve others, it’s very difficult not to love them. Where there is genuine, practical love demonstrated, genuine emotional love is going to follow.
© Bill Reeves 2008
Used with permission
My next post will begin with teaching young women to love their children.
My next post will move from the negatives to the positives. Sign up if you would like to be notified about Parts 2 and 3.
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